Jalen Hurts has often talked about Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson being his two favorite quarterbacks, guys he looked up to as a youngster before they became his peers. So it was only fitting that Ron Rivera said the Philadelphia Eagles rookie reminds him of one of them.
The Washington Football Team head coach (say that three times fast) was asked for his thoughts on Hurts during a conference call on Wednesday and invoked Wilson’s name. Aside from the two guys being dual-threat playmakers with their legs and arm, they also share common measurables and similar paths to the NFL. Remember, Wilson was a three-year starter at North Carolina before transferring to Wisconsin. Hurts went from Alabama to Oklahoma.
“Honestly, he does remind me of Russell Wilson,” Rivera told Philly reporters on Wednesday. “He’s a very mature guy, who because of that, brings a lot to the table. Secondly, just watching the way he plays, there are some things that he does that really do remind me of Russell Wilson. I mean, he’s very active. He’s shifty in the pocket, has got good sense, good movement skills about him.”
Ron Rivera just compared #Eagles QB Jalen Hurts to Russell Wilson.
I was just doing research, and QBs that rushed for over 50 yards vs. #WashingtonFootball this season are 4-0 (Cards, Ravens, Giants, Seahawks)
Hurts averages 79 rush YPG. Can't ignore that.
— Chip Brierre (@Chip_Brierre) December 30, 2020
Hurts has a long way to go to catch a Wilson who has appeared in two Super Bowls, including hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in 2013. But the comparisons have to feel good for a kid who grew up idolizing the seven-time Pro Bowler for the Seattle Seahawks.
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Hurts Trying to Win, ‘Have Some Pride’
Hurts was all business when addressing the media during a Zoom call on Wednesday. There has been much debate, mainly from disappointed fans, on whether the Eagles should intentionally lose the season finale on Sunday night. If Philly lets Washington win, they could potentially move all the way up to No. 3 in the draft.
Not an option, according to Hurts. Everyone on the roster has been toeing the company “no-hat rule” line preached by Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. No one wants to lose, least of all a rookie who needs to show enough on tape to show he deserves a crack at the starting gig in 2021.
“End it off the right way, have some pride,” Hurts told reporters. “Have some pride. Go out there and play this game, have some passion, show some passion, go out there and let it hang. Let it hang, go out there and play, and let’s get it done.”
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) December 30, 2020
Escaping the Pocket Too Soon?
Meanwhile, Doug Pederson made a shocking admission that he feels Hurts might be pressing at times. The head coach offered that there have been instances over the last three weeks where the rookie has darted out of the pocket too quickly, instead of keeping his eyes downfield and looking for open receivers.
“I did feel like there were times where he did escape a little bit too fast,” Pederson said. “Again, young players sometimes do that, and this is where we can coach him up and show him exactly where his eyes need to be, for instance, how he can time the drop up with the route combination or what he’s seeing defensively.”
It’s a delicate balance but a good problem to have considering the state of the team’s injured offensive line. Wentz had been (sometimes) staying back there too long and looking like a deer in headlights.
“There have been a few times the last couple of weeks that he’s gotten out of there a little bit too early,” Pederson said of Hurts, “and something that he can learn on and build upon and kind of calm himself in the pocket as he continues to play.”
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